How our grandmothers affect our lives

Our lives and our actions affect the future of the planet and human kind in profound ways. This is demonstrated by some interesting research. Come to the Birth and the Human Future one-day conference in Eugene, Oregon this next Friday, July 22 2016, for learning and discussion on the topic.

The field of epigenetics shows us that our chromosomes and their expression in our lives are affected by processes which are triggered by our experiences.  Methylation of the genes is one process that can occur during intense times in our lives.  Catastrophic times.  And also good times?  This isn’t addressed in any research that I’ve found but it seems to me that both the good times and hard times are carried on with us.  Conception, the time in-utero, and the early months of life are especially vulnerable to all influences.  They are also times when methylation of the genes from the ancestral past tends to be cleared. This is such new research that we really don’t yet have a in-depth understanding.

Epigenetic changes don’t change the genes.  But affect the expression of the genes, and they can be inherited.

The Cohn Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Ideas in Tel Aviv, Israel reports on a study in which the genome with its epigenetic markers of holocaust survivors and their descendants are compared to that of related individuals who were not in Europe during the holocaust. The genes of the holocaust survivors and their children are methylated in areas representing increased fear and anxiety.  These markers are not found  to a statistically significant level in genetically similar families without that experience.   (see:     for the original report; or for a more accessible discussion, )

Does this news leave you feeling hopeless and frustrated, that you may be predestined to carry insoluble problems through life? Think again. More often than not, methylations are cleared in the early stages or fertilization and conception, when the very first cell divisions to form the new individual line themselves up.  When this does not occur or occurs incompletely, human life is a chance to sift through other changes and clear the fear and depression that may come to us from the past.

A Native American writing on FaceBook commented that resilience is among the traits which her people carry down from their ancestors, in addition to the negative traits hypothesized to have been handed down from the conquest of indigenous America.

Black writers and activists have spoken of a post-traumatic slave syndrome.

Neither of the two  populations has yet chosen to test for epigenetic changes like the Tel Aviv researchers, but it seems to be common sense that similar patterns might be found.

At our one day conference next Friday, July 22, in Eugene, we will look at epigenetics and also at some of the characteristics of humans and babies that might help us grow towards a vibrant and more resilient life and society.

A recent study suggests that babies see MORE THAN us adults.  We will reflect on the nature of the newborn and we consider the needs of moms and babies during pregnancy, birth and thereafter.  What should be our approach to birth?

Why is the maternal mortality rate for American Black women four times higher than the general population?  What can be done about that? Prevention of maternal mortality will be a main feature of the conference.  The whole group will contribute our ideas in a brainstorm event which starts at 11:15 AM. I hope you will be there to contribute!

What is the role of the micro biome, that population of bacteria and other microbes which live in and on the human body, in the creation of healthy, resilient humans? Local hospitals have made changes in their birthing practices after learning about the vital importance of an intact micro biome to long-term health and resistance to disease.

How do humans communicate in non-verbal ways which profoundly affect the birth process and our lives?  Jill Cohen will incorporate the concept of limbic resonance, a powerful way in which we communicate with others, with stories from her busy hospital practice and her many years as a home birth midwife.

Birth and the Human Future Conference is appropriate for birth workers, parents and activists.  The cost is $50. including lunch; 6 OMC CEU’s are $10. extra.  Is this cost too much for you?  Follow the prompts at registration for low-income options.  No one will be turned away for lack of ability to pay. We’d rather have you there than make a profit!

Registration starts at 8 AM Friday July 22 at Centro de Fe, 540 Adams, Eugene, Oregon!IMG_4780